“So then? That is good.”
“I am George Hyde, her grandson, you know.”
“Well then, I did not know. ’Tis near dark, and I see not as well as once I did.”
“I have brought from Madame Van Heemskirk some ivory winders for Madame Jacobus.”
“Come in, come in, and tell my Arenta the message thyself. I know nothing of such things. Come in, I did not think of thee as my friend Van Heemskirk’s grandson. Welcome art thou!” and Van Ariens himself opened the parlour door, saying, “Arenta, here is George Hyde. A message he brings for thy Aunt Angelica.”
And while these words were being uttered, George delighted his eyes with the vision of Cornelia, who sat at a small table with some needlework in her hand. Arenta’s tatting was over her foot, and she had to remove it in order to rise and meet Hyde. Rem sat idly fingering a pack of playing cards and talking to Cornelia. This situation George took in at a glance; though his sense of sight was quite satisfied when it rested on the lovely girl who dropped her needle as he entered, for he saw the bright flush which overspread her face and throat, and the light of pleasure which so filled her eyes that they seemed to make her whole face luminous.
In a few moments, Arenta’s pretty enthusiasms and welcomes dissipated all constraint, and Hyde placed his chair among the happy group and fell easily into his most charming mood. Even Rem could not resist the atmosphere of gaiety and real enjoyment that soon pervaded the room. They sang, they played, they had a game at whist, and everything that happened was in some subtle, secret way, a vehicle for Hyde’s love to express itself. Yet it was to Arenta he appeared to be most attentive; and Rem was good-naturedly inclined to permit his sister to be appropriated, if only he was first in the service of Cornelia.
But though Hyde’s attentions were so little obvious, Cornelia was satisfied. It would have been a poor lover who could not have said under such circumstances “I love you” a hundred times over; and George Hyde was not a poor lover. He had naturally the ardent confidence and daring which delight women, and he had not passed several seasons in the highest London society without learning all those sweet, occult ways of making known admiration, which the presence of others renders both necessary and possible.
About half-past nine, a negro woman came with Cornelia’s cloak and hood. George took them from Arenta’s hand and folded the warm circular round Cornelia’s slight figure; and then watched her tie her pretty pink hood, managing amid the pleasant stir of leave-taking to whisper some words that sang all night like sweetest music in her heart. It was Rem, however, that gave her his arm and escorted her to her own door; and with this rightful privilege to his guest young Hyde was far too gentlemanly and just to interfere. However, even in this moment of seeming secondary consideration, he heard a few words which gave him a delightful assurance of coming satisfaction. For as the two girls stood in the hall, Arenta said—